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The MIF, Cirque du Soleil® and three Latin American social circus schools join forces to promote youth employability

Nov 20, 2013

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, approved a US$3.6 million technical assistance grant to three social circus organizations: La Tarumba (Peru), Circo del Mundo [World Circus] (Chile), and Circo Social del Sur [Social Circus of the South] (Argentina), for a project that aims to improve the employability of 1,500 poor and low income youth from inner-city neighborhoods in Lima, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires. The project will consolidate and systematize an innovative and sustainable youth employability and job placement model through the use of the social circus. Once tested, the model will be transferred to two other organizations in Colombia and Brazil. Cirque du Soleil will be a key strategic partner for the project’s success and expansion, providing their resources and expertise in training, disseminating, transferring and managing social circuses. 

The social circus is a tool that facilitates community integration of vulnerable populations; it is not an end in itself, but a means of personal development, which helps to acquire socio-emotional and cognitive skills. The social circus is different from what is called “professional” or “recreational” circus, as it gives preference to participants’ experience rather than to their artistic performance. Circus arts allow youth to achieve goals through their physical effort and discipline. 

The Latin American and Caribbean region has a high youth unemployment rate: 13% of young people are unemployed, compared with 5% of adults, and at least 50 million poor and low income youth are considered “at-risk.” In part, the situation is due to the persistent gaps between labor supply and demand. Many employers find that youth do not have the cognitive and socio-emotional skills required to obtain modern jobs. Closing this gap through actions targeted to poor and at-risk youth is a priority for the MIF. 

The MIF has nearly 20 years of experience working in the area of youth employment and entrepreneurship. This project builds on that work, exploring a creative approach and an alternative solution to a difficult problem. Through the social circus, the MIF will contribute to build an occupational project for youth, and to strengthen their employability by developing soft and technical skills. We will also work to strengthen the participating social circus organizations so that they may function as efficient social enterprises that benefit the poorest youth” said Mariel Sabra, coordinator of the MIF’s youth agenda and the project’s design leader.

This project, that uses the arts as a vehicle for social improvement, will require boldness and creativity. We are eager to begin working!” added Gil Favreau, Director, Social Action and Community Relations, Global Citizenship Service of Cirque du Soleil.

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefitting low-income populations and the poor - their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them the tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory - experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks in order to build and support successful micro and SME business models. More information at www.fomin.org.


About Cirque du Soleil

Founded in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Québec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including 1,300 artists from more than 50 countries. In 2013, Cirque du Soleil presents simultaneously some 20 shows around the world, which will be seen by some 15 million spectators. Worldwide, Cirque du Soleil and its employees have chosen to join with communities and a growing number of individuals to work together to build a better world. More information at www.cirquedusoleil.com


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